Eligibility and how to apply for free school meals

  • Since September 2014, all pupils in reception, year 1 or year 2 are automatically entitled to a school meal under the Government's Universal Free Meals policy
  • If your child is in any of those school years and you think you meet the criteria, we recommend that you still apply. This will mean your child's school does not miss out on important funding to support your child (pupil premium). It may also mean your child will continue to receive free meals after the end of year 2
  • Older children/young people may not have to pay for school lunches if you as their parent or carer meet the eligibility criteria. This also generates the Pupil Premium which gives schools additional funding

Eligibility criteria

You may be eligible for free school meals if you receive any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income (as assessed by HM Revenue & Customs) that does not exceed £16,190
  • Working Tax Credit during the four-week period immediately after their employment finishes or after they start to work less than 16 hours per week
  • Universal Credit

Pupils who do not qualify for free school lunches must be charged the same amount for the same quantity of the same item.

How to apply for free school meals